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Story Publication logo October 23, 2022

Indigenous Land Becomes a Ghost Town After Abandonment and Normalization of Invaders (Portuguese)


many tree trunks and fires in deforested land

President Jair Bolsonaro ignored the obligation to demarcate indigenous lands in Brazil, renewed the...

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This story excerpt was translated from Portuguese. To read the original story in full, visit Folha de São Paulo. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website [here]. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.

Justice ordered Funai to conclude demarcation of territory in the middle Solimões within three years; six years have already passed.

Image by Lalo de Almeida/FolhaPress. Brazil, 2022.

FONTE BOA, Amazonas—Whoever walks through the Mucura Mouth, in the region of the middle Solimões River, has the feeling of walking through a ghost land. At least until you get to the house of the tuxaua (chief) Franciney Silva de Lima, 35.

"Even if I stay alone in Mucura, but I don't abandon it. This is where I get my fish, my watermelon, my sustenance", he says. Franciney lives with his wife Neila and their five children in the indigenous land which is located on an islet close to Fonte Boa (AM), a city in the Solimões that can only be reached by water and air.

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The family is one of six that remain in the territory. Most of the wooden houses with zinc roofs have been abandoned. The carcasses of these houses were left behind and taken over by the bush. In some cases, the wood used in the constructions was removed.

"We are now six families. We were seven, but the little daughter of a teacher died in the last flood, and the family can't bear to go home again," says Franciney.

The indigenous people of the land are Kokamas, present in different parts of the Solimões and targets of several forced displacements over the centuries. Their relationship with the cities has become more constant in the last decades. Demarcation processes try to secure their relationship with the land.